Men in Black II (2002)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Rehashing the first.

Now here’s where my personal opinion clashes with the general public’s opinion. I personally really love Men in Black II and would buy it in an instant (which I did), and in some ways, I consider it much better than the first – however, I do understand why that may not be true for everyone. At the very least, you can enjoy this film for what it is – a comedy that brings back two very funny characters that bring magic to the screen whenever they show up.

MIIB is about Agent J’s continuing adventures in the government organization that monitors extraterrestrial life on earth. One problem, though. He knows as well as the audience that his chemistry only works well with Agent K, and that guy has since retired and wiped his memory. So when a new case arises, Agent J must find K in order to return his memories and solve the current crises. There is a Light of Zartha somewhere in the city, and they must find it before Serleena, an evil alien temptress, finds it and destroys the planet.

Okay, first things first – this is the same plot as the first film, masked under different faces and flipped scenarios. The first half of the first film was a fish-out-of-water comedy with Will Smith – same thing here; it’s just Tommy Lee Jones. In both films, an evil alien is looking for an item that is responsible somehow for the ultimate destruction of earth – if in the wrong hands. So then, it turns into a race against time between the MIB and the aliens in finding this McGuffin. To add some more, you have Frank the Dog and the similar scenes with Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub).

The similarities between the two films is ultimately the sequels greatest downfall, as there is a great lack in creativity and originality after five years. Now, where it lacks originality, it gains better graphics and at times, better jokes. Not only is Will Smith pulling the humorous weight, but so is Tommy Lee Jones, and to be fair – Jones has some incredible scenes that are indeed hilarious. It’s his balance between seriousness and hilarity that really help the film move along. We also see a more mature side of Will Smith in this film, as his career had moved up in the world by now – which is great.

Now, what really sets the film apart from the first is most definitely the addition of Rosario Dawson as Laura Vasquez. Sure, you might think about the lady in the morgue from the first film, but Dawson’s importance in the sequel greatly outweighs the importance of Dr. Weaver in Men in Black – especially when it comes to her chemistry with Will Smith (they also work very well together in Seven Pounds). If I could bring something else up, I would also prefer the song Will Smith wrote for the second movie over the first. I know it’s not much, but it’s something.

Yes, the film is a little bit of a carbon copy of the first, but in the end it’s still pretty enjoyable all on its own. It loses a lot of the character development, and it relies a bit on your knowledge of the first film – but other than that, it’s still very entertaining. It’s hilarious in parts, has characters you can really love as well as love-to-hate, some good lines, and you can just have a general good time. Take that as you will.

The Good:

Men in Black II brings back the characters that you loved in the first film in a story that is both hilarious and reminiscent of the things you loved the first time around.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, the main complaint about the film is also the worst one – there was too little originality and so much copy-paste material from the first film. It needed to be a little bolder and come up with a more unique story. This one was okay, but in my opinion, wasn’t completely enough.

2 thoughts on “Men in Black II (2002)

  1. In my opinion it more than just rehashes the first movie, it squeezes every joke that succeeded in the 1st and over-expanded on it with the 2nd. And even having two villains with Lara Flynn Boyle and Johnny Knoxville are no substitute for Vincent D’Onofrio. Rosario Dawson is great with what little she is given though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, and this is the problem present in far too many comedy sequels. I personally don’t have a problem with expanding on the things that worked for the first, but you’re right – it does take it a bit too far


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